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In Journal of biomedical optics

SIGNIFICANCE : Detection and characterization of coronary atherosclerotic plaques often need reviews of a large number of optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging slices to make a clinical decision. However, it is a challenge to manually review all the slices and consider the interrelationship between adjacent slices.

APPROACH : Inspired by the recent success of deep convolutional network on the classification of medical images, we proposed a ResNet-3D network for classification of coronary plaque calcification in OCT pullbacks. The ResNet-3D network was initialized with a trained ResNet-50 network and a three-dimensional convolution filter filled with zeros padding and non-zeros padding with a convolutional filter. To retrain ResNet-50, we used a dataset of ∼4860 OCT images, derived by 18 entire pullbacks from different patients. In addition, we investigated a two-phase training method to address the data imbalance. For an improved performance, we evaluated different input sizes for the ResNet-3D network, such as 3, 5, and 7 OCT slices. Furthermore, we integrated all ResNet-3D results by majority voting.

RESULTS : A comparative analysis proved the effectiveness of the proposed ResNet-3D networks against ResNet-2D network in the OCT dataset. The classification performance (F1-scores  =  94  %   for non-zeros padding and F1-score  =  96  %   for zeros padding) demonstrated the potential of convolutional neural networks (CNNs) in classifying plaque calcification.

CONCLUSIONS : This work may provide a foundation for further work in extending the CNN to voxel segmentation, which may lead to a supportive diagnostic tool for assessment of coronary plaque vulnerability.

He Chunliu, Wang Jiaqiu, Yin Yifan, Li Zhiyong


atherosclerosis, deep learning, intravascular optical coherence tomography, plaque calcification